Which Company Has Better Characters: Nintendo Or Disney?
Both have made millions, one off a talking mouse, the other from a pudgy Italian plumber. There can only be one winner.
A famous survey conducted in the 90s showed that Nintendo's Mario was more recognizable to American children than Disney's Mickey Mouse, a startling realization, considering the latter mascot first appeared in 1928 and benefited from decades of exposure, compared to a mustachioed plumber that was barely ten years old.
Not sure what today's data would yield, and most likely, Justin Bieber would probably smoke them both.
All kidding aside, Mario and Mickey represent their respective companies, which went on to create two of the biggest stables of characters in entertainment history.
Disney, of course, needs no introduction. Its studio has churned out a plethora of hit animated films populated with some of the most beloved heroes and villains, such as Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto, while putting its own touch on celebrated classics like Alice in Wonderland. The Lion King? Pinocchio? Bambi? Beauty and the Beast? All Disney properties. There's also DuckTales. You can't mess with Uncle Scrooge and his money bin.
Consider Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts. Why do the masses buy these games? For the Final Fantasy element, or because of the Disney themed worlds and characters? The answer should be obvious.
You also cannot forget about Pixar and the IP it brings to the table, most notably Toy Story and Cars. Hard to compete against Woody and Buzz Lightyear.
The Nintendo side, meanwhile, is arguably just as formidable. There's Mario, of course, but also his brother Luigi. We've lost track of the hundreds of Pokemon available, and then we also have Samus Aran, Kirby, Wario, Link, Princess Peach, Bowser, Toad, Donkey Kong and countless other marketable characters. The Legend of Zelda? Fire Emblem? Professor Layton? Animal Crossing? Beloved by fans the world over.
This ultimately begs the following question: Who has the best characters?
My gut reaction was Nintendo, but then I remembered Pixar.
You have to keep in mind that both companies don't necessarily compete directly. A new Toy Story film will gross over $100 million easily, while the infamous Super Mario Bros. flick barely made $20 million in the U.S.; it's important to note that early Pokemon movies exceeded $100 million worldwide.
Conversely, Toy Story video games barely crack 1.5 million copies sold each, while last November's Super Mario 3D land has nearly crossed the six million mark. It would appear characters from both camps are masters of their domain.
Obviously, Disney has a leg up on the big N when it comes to merchandising. The Nintendo World Store in New York City has plenty of t-shirts, stuffed plushies, backpacks and other collectibles, but that's one place.
Disney Stores, meanwhile, are all over, though plenty have closed over the years.
Hundreds of people line up for new Nintendo video games and systems. We can't say the same for Disney films and DVDs. No big surprise, we suppose. After all, Mario Kart 7 sounds more appealing than Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. We can only take so much of her.
So what do you think about Lakitu vs. Quasimodo? Navi vs. Tinker Bell? Donkey Kong vs. The Beast? Wario vs. Uncle Scrooge? Let us know who YOU think has the better characters.
Is it Disney, with The Little Mermaid, Snow White and Aladdin?
Is it Nintendo, with Punch-Out!!, Metroid and Pokemon?
It's Mario vs. Mickey. Who comes out on top?